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Supporting Nigerian Women: Check out these “Femme” businesses you should be throwing your money atBy Ahmad-Tijani Agbaje on January 23, 2024

We love women.

It’s just how it is with us.

Now, women in business? Count us in, take our cards, the whole shebang.

According to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), 41% of Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) in Nigeria are women-owned – that’s 23 million women. Still, the report highlights the challenges women entrepreneurs face, particularly in accessing finance, technology, and business support.

“Targeted support, access to capital, and mentorship programs can propel these trailblazing women to even greater heights of success,” the report said.

It also revealed that women own only 20% of enterprises in the formal sector in Nigeria, and only about 12% of Directors on corporate Boards of Directors are women.

More mind-blowing stats; about 79% of women make up the rural labour force, but they are the least likely to own property. Along with this, over three-quarters of the poorest women in Nigeria have never been to school and 94% of them are illiterate.

To wrap it up, it also says that at the slow rate Nigeria is going, the gender gap in the economy will only close in about 100 years.

That’s ten years… times ten.

We don’t know about you, but it definitely sounds like the ladies need more love, and that’s what we’re here to do – in our little way.

And because we’re all about the facts, women are more likely to invest in their families and communities, creating positive spillover effects for health, education, and social welfare – quite literally improving the world. A UN study in Kenya found that women who received cash transfers spent more on food, education, and health care than men who received the same amount.

If this doesn’t make you want to spend your money on women, we’re not sure what else would.

While we can’t give every woman’s business the spotlight they deserve (sigh) we’ve put together a small – but powerful – list of businesses we think deserve your coins and time (preferably both).

From the big madams to the baby girls, it’s a list that touches most niches, so let’s get into it!

Femme Africa – est. 2018


Femme Founder, Ayomide Dokunmu. Photo Credit ( /@ayomidedokunmu)

(C’mon, how could we not love them? Even their name is catchy.)

Femme Africa is a women-focused company committed to building content, community and culture for and around African women from all walks of life. Its primary goal is to fill the gaps between female artists and their male counterparts in the Nigerian music industry.

Founder, Ayomide Dokunmu, in an interview with Native, revealed that Femme was born in a moment of incredulity; she couldn’t believe that something similar didn’t already exist.

Her friend had mentioned the idea of a female-only show/concert, but after speaking to a few people, Ayomide, who already worked in media, decided it wouldn’t work

But the idea lived on in her head.

“I just wanted to create something for us that was actually genuine and not just people hopping on the wave of ‘supporting women’ but something that would actually help,” she said.

So, in 2018, the Magna Cum Laude Communications graduate (she’s a brainy one) decided she would be the change she wanted to see, and started Femme Africa.

Fast forward to 2021, the seemingly impossible dream came to fruition; the first Femme Festival held in Lagos, Nigeria, featuring an all-female artiste and DJ lineup with babes like Teni the entertainer, Lady Donli, Deto Black, SGaWD and more.

And guess what?

It banged.

Since then, they’ve had two more festivals, and there’s no indication that there won’t be another one (in DJ Khaled’s voice) this year.

Apart from the festivals, Femme Africa is also getting down and dirty with empowering women to achieve better than the limitations of society; partnering with brands like Flutterwave (starting a Business Grant open to young businesswomen aged 18 to 35), Apple Music’s distribution subsidiary – Platoon (They had a one-day immersive music program that included workshops, mentoring sessions, and classes on songwriting, producing, mix-mastering and the art of broadcasting) and even Spotify (The Pink Book – check it out), they’ve brought invaluable resources and representation to the African woman.

Iko Africa – est 2022


Co-Founder of Iko, Josephine Inika. Photo Credit ( /jojoxcvii)

Imagine there was a new Twitter – but just for African writers.

Where they could discover other writers, share stories and connect with the community.

Stop imagining dear, it already exists.

Iko Africa is the brainchild of Josephine Inika and Emmanuel Eyo.

Josephine (or Jojo as she’s known by her nearest and dearest i.e, Twitter) is a writer with a Mass Communication degree, so when she says there’s a gap between the African writing community and the rest of the world, we think she knows what she’s saying.

According to them, even though there is already a plethora of digital publishing platforms, the African Writer needs more representation in these media.

Iko Africa strives to address this issue by offering a social platform for enthusiasts of African literature; It serves as a space where writers and readers come together to engage with stories, articles, and books.

It’s also a seamless way for African writers to build an audience of readers.

What’s not to love? (rhetorical question because the answer is nothing)

Yes, yes, traditional media offers broad and established reach and opportunities, but African writers are beginning to see the value in the rawness of self-publishing – it offers both a more personal connection to readers and other writers and a lower-risk way of putting your work out there, especially if you’re a newbie.

Also, being self-published means you could get up to about 70% of the cover price for an e-book from a company like Amazon as opposed to traditional publishers.

“Iko is where our stories connect us. Writers, readers, and brands can join Iko and find what they’re looking for, be it a listening audience, work that resonates, the solution to a problem, or an escape from daily life,” Co-Founder Josephine said while speaking with Document Women.

Her work as a writer of all sorts means that she knows how important it is to stay on your A-game, so, Iko offers writing classes for the novice word-weaver – or even if you just want to brush up on your penmanship, they’ve got you.

To wrap it up, go and join Iko Africa. It’s easy, it’s free, it’s interesting, it’s African, and there’s a woman at the head.

“If you have something to say and you want people to hear you out, come and say it on Iko.” – Josephine Inika, Co-Founder, Iko Africa.

Healthtracka – est 2021


Healthtracka Founder, Ifeoluwa Dare-Johnson. Photo Credit ( /ifeoluwadarejohnson)

Did you know that in Africa, there’s a one-doctor to five-thousand-patients ratio?

That is very dire stuff.

The healthcare sector in Nigeria is severely underfunded, and 70% of healthcare spending is out of pocket. This is also the poverty capital of the world, by the way.

So, imagine how many people simply don’t have access to or find health tracking a hassle?

Healthtracka founder Ifeoluwa Dare-Johnson became all too familiar with this when her seemingly healthy father passed away due to previously undetected issues relating to diabetes and hypertension.

“As a scientist, I studied biochemistry in school and worked in the lab, so I knew how important diagnostics was. But it wasn’t until about four years ago, when my dad had passed, that I started to look closely into the space,” Ifeoluwa told TechCrunch in an interview.

She began to envision a world where healthcare was as easy as possible so that factors like long waiting times at hospitals and slow doctor consultations would not be deterrents to getting yourself checked out.

Speaking further, she recalled how she knew she didn’t want to further pursue medical biochemistry – not in the conventional sense at least – during an internship at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Nigeria.

“One of the things I learnt about myself during my internship was I have empathy for people going through health issues; and one of the things I felt was helplessness. I wanted to be on the other side of making decisions that would make their lives better, as opposed to being the clinical person giving drugs,” Ifeoluwa said.

So, working with Victor Amusan, Ifeoluwa started Healthtracka.

A service that promises health tracking (hence the name) made easy; with at-home testing (meaning a trained Phlebotomist will collect your samples in the comfort of your home), affordable prices, and results sent to the patient’s email, it’s an easy and secure way to make sure your insides are working right, without having to go anywhere or wait in line for anyone to see you.

“Somebody needed to come into that space to think about how to solve these operational challenges, build the logistics, technology and the infrastructure to support the idea of at-home lab testing,” she said.

The innovative start-up offers an array of test packages, like Full body checkups (which include tests like Fasting Blood Sugar, Total Cholesterol, Full Blood Count, Urinalysis etc), Pre-wedding checks (Blood Grouping, Hb Electrophoresis/Genotype, Hepatitis B Surface Antigen, HIV I & II Rapid etc), Domestic staff tests (nannies, drivers etc) and more.

And these tests range from ₦15,000 upwards. What are you waiting for?

MAKA – est 2021


MAKA Founder, Diana Owusu-Kyereko. Photo Credit ( /Diana Owusu-Kyereko)

It’s no secret that the girls know a thing or two about fashion and beauty.

Many of you would be looking a mess if your mums didn’t send you back to your rooms to change your razz colour riots.

MAKA Founder, Diana Owusu-Kyereko is one of such women.

Diana is the kind of person whose LinkedIn you look at and go “Damn. You no dey rest?”

From an underwriting intern at Allianz Reinsurance in Munich, Germany, to the CEO of Jumia Ghana, she’s definitely been around.

During the 2020 pandemic, she struggled to find fashion inspiration that resonated with her and decided to fill in the gap for the African babes.

MAKA is a social commerce platform that allows users to explore products customised to their individual styles through real reviews, User-Generated Content (UGC) – that is, any content created by people (like you), rather than brands – and more from both creators and customers.

Sounds like Diana proves that you can be a baddie in and out of the boardroom.

“We’re committed to providing our users with an authentic space to explore their unique style while empowering creators to showcase their content and connect with new audiences. We want to foster meaningful connections between creators and customers,” she revealed in a statement after the start-up raised US$2.65 million in pre-seed funding to help it scale.

The African e-commerce platform is adopting a unique strategy, offering a space for micro-influencers to show their style, influence fashion fanatics, and earn income in the process.

MAKA is really doing one or two things here, wouldn’t you agree?

“African e-commerce deserves better, and we’re driven by our belief that everyone should be able to easily discover their style, feel represented and express their individuality. Our technology, coupled with our team of experts, not only empowers users but also liberates them to confidently explore and make purchases from verified and trusted brands,” said Owusu-Kyereko.

She wants you to look your best without breaking the bank or being cheated.

We know an African MOTHER when we see one!

So, if investors can give MAKA over 2 million dollars to grow because they see the potential, realistically, why aren’t you on it?

Sabi – est 2020


Sabi Founder, Anu Adedoyin Adasolum. Photo Credit ( /Anu Adedoyin Adasolum)

When women want to do business, they do business. Okay?

Anu Adedoyin Adasolum has always been interested in the “big problems”.

Being a girl who had a passion for reading and completing take-home assignments, the unpredictable power cuts in the country disrupted her study sessions.

“Energy is a big problem,” she said when asked why she wanted to solve the issue of power in an interview with Techcabal

Anu was the CEO of Rensource Energy (one of Africa’s fastest-growing solar power providers) before she co-founded her own company, and now Sabi, her company, has raised over 64 million dollars in overall funding.

The inspiration behind Sabi was another big problem Anu saw; the plight of business owners in Nigeria.

Sabi provides merchants and resellers with business tools and services that help them reach new customers, improve cash flow, and streamline logistics.

“We are a platform that enables other businesses to grow. We build interventions in different value chains that add up to commercial infrastructure. Being our client means accessing services. It could be accessing credit and working capital. You can use our logistics services. We also provide free software for merchants to track their sales,” Sabi co-founder & CEO, Anu Adedoyin Adasolum explained after the company crossed $1 billion in annualised Gross Merchandise Value (GMV).

These are the big madams we were talking about earlier.

Sabi is “sector-agnostic” which means they don’t belong to any specific industry or sector, and they make it their business to connect merchants, including manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, and retailers, granting them entry to an expanded marketplace.

Additionally, Sabi provides supplementary services such as loans and inventory management to enhance their capabilities, all with the objective of increasing incomes for African micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).

According to World Economics data, the informal economy in Nigeria is reported to constitute 57.7%, equivalent to $1,164 billion at GDP PPP levels. This informal sector comprises more than 39 million micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises. These 39 million businesses need effective platforms to connect with potential and current customers, along with tools to enhance their service delivery.

And that’s what Sabi was built for.

“We are serving an underserved market, not in terms of what people normally think of us, which is a B2B marketplace. What we are doing is building very customised products for market gaps,” Anu said.

ReelFruit – est 2012


Reel Fruit Founder, Affiong Williams. Photo Credit ( /Affiong Williams)

Reel Fruit is a premium dried fruit company known for its high-quality nutritious snacks founded and run by Affiong Williams.

The company makes snacks out of dried mangoes, bananas, coconuts, pineapples, and nuts like cashews as well.

Not every time burger and shawarma.

The entrepreneur started the company to support underserved people and communities in West Africa so they could unearth their full potential.

Her technology-driven agribusiness successfully secured a $3 million Series A funding round in 2021, marking significant validation. However, it wasn’t all rosy; the journey included a five-year effort to build the first factory and a total of nine years leading up to the Series A milestone.

So, maybe the patient dog really does eat the fattest bone?

She took a risk by leaving her secure job at Endeavour South Africa (an entrepreneurship support organisation) and a pathway that would have led her to the U.S., to start a dried fruits company in Nigeria. She started by promoting prototype products across Lagos, somewhat relying on the prospect of securing a UN grant, which, unfortunately, she didn’t get.

After exhausting her personal savings on the venture, Affiong then resorted to raising funding for the company in small bursts, because according to her, investors “didn’t see the vision” enough to make big investments.

“We found that it was easier and quicker for us to raise smaller amounts tied to realisable milestones, as opposed to a broader unknown that may not yield immediate returns. That helped us get to the point where lead investors then felt confident about backing the big idea because we’d proven ourselves in smaller milestones. I recommend that strategy because it helps entrepreneurs allocate capital.” she said in an interview with TechPoint Africa.

Reel Fruit is dedicated to empowering the African farmer, producing delectable snacks, and creating delightful moments.

It even says on its official site “Women are at the heart of what we do”

How can we not be obsessed?


So you see, from food to fashion to business and health, there are women everywhere doing amazing things, regardless of the state of the country.

A round of applause for them please, it’s not easy.

Next up is our “Femme” Index which includes the businesses mentioned above and other resources that seek to put women at the forefront.

This one’s for the girls.


The Femme Index

Fashion and beauty

Dimma Umeh
Eniola Olajide
Ellen Nigeria
Shakara House






One Health
Eha Clinics

Transportation and travel




Legal services

Pocket lawyers


She Leads Africa
Google Black Founders Fund
Herconomy Enterprise Challenge
BRP 4 We
Womenpreneur Pitch-a-thon

Women-focused Initiatives receiving donations

Kudirat Initiative for Democracy
SKY Girls Nigeria
Wellbeing Foundation Africa
WAAW Foundation
Mirabel centre
She Leads Africa
Project Alert

Women’s shelters

ActionAid Nigeria Feminist Hub Emergency Shelter
Hearts of Hope Shelter
Mirabel centre
Sophia’s place

And that wraps up our lil tribute to the vast world of good women are doing in the country.

What are your favourite women-run companies? And which of our recommendations will you be giving your money and time to?

We want to know…

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